Michael Moore |
I was running the largest ESX farm on the West Coast up until two months ago, then I switched to a different company to start building another ESX environment. I never had any configuration issues, or utilization/performance issues. On the other hand, we’ve had tons of performance issues on Virtual Server, and in fact, with my current company, we are totally removing the Virtual Server instances to replace them with ESX. I say if you want a slower performing Virtualization environment, and no VMotion, no DRS, no HA, then yes, MS Virtual Server is probably for you. But right now, ESX 3.0.1 has no peer. That doesn’t mean that MS isn’t catching up. Far from it. But they’ve got a way to go yet.
Renee Cousins |
I can agree with the cost issue. If you’re a Windows shop, the licensing of Windows Enterprise and Datacenter are instantly offset by their virtualization rights – so having to run “Windows-on-Windows” is essentially free compared with ESX. Very roughly, DC costs $2,800/socket with unlimited rights – in Server A we install Windows DC for $5,600, Virtual Server and plug it up with as many instances of DC as we want. In Server B we install VI3 Enterprise for two sockets at $7,200 and under Microsofts licensing, still require to licenses of Windows DC at $5,600. The difference is entirely the cost of VI3.
The thing is, the touted performance of ESX is no longer there on new hardware. IntelVT and AMDVTx are both capable of entirely offsetting the prior disadvantage of “emulation”. When you’re a Windows-only (or Windows-mostly) shop, Virtual Server can outperform ESX by quite a bit because VS hooks into the HAL directly. SQL on VS is much faster than on ESX and has so much higher hardware compatibility. The only reason our company hasn’t gone this way is because our processors aren’t IntelVT.
Steve Chambers |
Why would you back up ESX Server anyway? It should be treated like a stateless virtualization device that is faster to rebuild (8 minutes for me) than restore.
Rebuild is the industry best practice anyway, doing restores from backups for ESX Server is, at best, backward.
I know lots of fellow ESXers who have large farms and don’t have the issues in this article – smells of FUD to me :-.
Steve Chambers |
Renee – show me some data to support your claims… I am blinking with astonishment
Also, the cost of VMware can easily be made to look worse… until you start putting 50 VMs on ESX Server compared to 4 VS. Your comparisons are highly selective, almost like saying “my car is better than yours because it has four seats instead of two”, whereas I drive a ferrari and you are in a hyundai…
A perfect storm of Microsoft anti-competitiveness, bad financial math and lightweight engineers.
We’ve been running SQL Server (12 dbs) on our ESX boxes without problems. No performances issue whatsoever. We used the P2V assistant so we can compare with the physical machine. As for configuration, a 1 day training was enough. This article is definetely a FUD
Renee Cousins |
The cost overhead of ESX diminishes based on the consolidation ratio you can achieve in the given environment; it’s neither good nor bad math, it just is. Based on current prices, VS would have to suffer a 2:1 worse consolidation ratio to ESX for ESX to become cost effective. That is, if on a single blade you can get 12 VMs under ESX that VS could do no better than 6. However, under R2 with IntelVT we’ve easily been able to match ESX’s ratio with similar overall performance. I might do some benchmarking and submit it when I have the chance.
It’s probably worth mentioning that a lot of people who criticise Virtual Server’s performance have benchmarked it on servers that do not support VT of any sort (i.e., Dell 2850′s). To be fair, pre-R2 or anything on pre-VT hardware cannot compare to ESX.
ESX’s transparent page sharing allows memory oversubscription letting you have more provisioned memory in powered on virtual machines than there is present in the physical box. Having to buy more expensive high density memory modules to run the same number of VMs needs to be figured into those VS TCO computations as well. But the server itself is only part of the total cost of doing business. Don’t forget the extra VS servers’ NICs, HBAs, switch ports, wall power, cooling power, datacenter real estate and operations support over the standard 3yr depreciation schedule. It adds up to quite a bit.
David Siles |
I normally don’t reply to blog posting, but this just happens to be the most skewed view of ESX I have heard in a while. Yes, I do agree that the cost of ESX is more than a free product. However, from my experience with Virtual Server 2005 R2, yes we do run it, we can only get 4-5 machines on a VS box. Nevermind the fact, if you crash the underlying host OS, you lose all machines in your virtualization stack. That being said, VS has it is place as a development environment where the cost of justifying even $100.00 for VMware workstation can be done.
However, when it comes to production, under ESX I find many faults to this guys claims. I run an environment where 50+ SQL databases are run as virtual workloads, an Exchange 2003 environment with 4000+ mailboxes, all but one of our Domain Controllers, all our critical applications which include public safety servers, and I have never ever come across an issue as referenced above.
I don’t doubt John’s experiences, I just think he may of had a bad consulting experience, bad equipment, or miss understanding of the real power of a properly configured Virtual Infrastructure environment. I just hope this wasn’t a “$upported” article by Microsoft. To be so far behind the virtualization curve, they seem to be doing whatever they can to keep buzz about a product that is still not in the same league as VMware and others in the virtualization game.
Good luck John, hopefully the Microsoft solution does far you better, I don’t wish long nights on any fellow IT worker.
Alex K |
I completely agree with Steve on this one, why would anybody want to backup an ESX server? with proper setup and little time you can configure a kickstart installation. i have one configured for my ESX servers and all I have to do in case of host failure is to PXE boot it and start the setup. total time is 50 minutes, out of which 40 is spent installing all the patches. The actual setup takes less than 10 minutes and once the server is rebooted, everything (networking, licensing, vmotion) is configured. All that is left is to add it to the Cluster and let DRS take over. Expensive yes, worth it heck ye, better than Virtual Server, definitely. where is HA, DRS, Vmotion on VC?
I run a small ESX shop, 4 hosts and we are a very heavy SQL shop. Our Virtual SQL servers perform better than their physical counter parts. All it takes is proper design and implementation of your Vmware infastructure.
I’m currently running a Virtual Server 2005 R2 Projet. We are converting, in a Datacenter more than 400 physical servers to MS Virtual Server VM. Our ratio is between 10 to 15 VM per Host (4 pross dual core 16 Go RAM).
We are really monitoring the performances of the HOST servers & the VM generated and do not see any performances issue.;
I would agree about the licence cost. It as a major impact since some of my customers are moving now from VMWare to Virtual Server.
I strongly beleive that the next battle will be on the VM management solutions (SCVMM, PlateSpin etc…)
Don P. |
I think its a shame some of you apparently do not know how to calculate TOTAL cost of ownership of various virtualization solutions. While it is true that VS 2005 (Free) is less than ESX/VI3 in terms of a licensing aspect there are many more factors to consider and if you take all costs into consideration VI3 is far cheaper than MS VirtualServer. Higher consolidation rates really add up to big cost savings as the number of VMs scale up. Think of power, cooling, network and fiber cables and ports (and their associated administrative costs), server hardware maintenance, etc. Those hard costs are easy to calculate but there are even more advantages and savings when you start to look at VMotion, DRS, HA, VCB, etc.
Also, why is the comparison even being made between ESX and VirtualServer? You should be comparing VMware Server as it is more comparable in terms of features and price since it is also “free”.
10-15 per 8 core box. Do you realize that the average is 3-4 per core on multicore socket servers for ESX? I.e. 24-32 VMs on an 8 core server? It will take you twice as many servers to run your environment on VS. On the bright side at least you’re looking brilliant by moving away from pure physical and staying busy regardless.
Andrew Kutz |
I personally think that even though the ESX experience may be smoother, many people *are* giving Virtual Server a chance simply because of the price. They are willing to sacrifice functionality for the cost difference. This should not surprise us too much. Airlines have first class and coach. There are Audis and Chevys. The purpose is the same, but not everyone wishes to pay extra to get a few extra features.
However, take an A8 for a spin sometime. You’ll never want to drive anything else
In response to Xavier…
With my current 8 way (2.0GHz single core procs), I’ve got roughly 55 VM’s per server with ESX. A huge difference between that and a 4-way dual core box with 10 to 15 MS virtual machines.
Add VMotion, HA, DRS, VirtualCenter, and a free Converter for importing, and you’ve got an awesome solution. It may cost more than free, but it is also Enterprise class, rather than Workgroup class like Virtual Server 2005 R-whatever. And if you want to manage it, you’ll have to purchase System Center. That’s not free too is it?
There really isn’t a comparison between the 2 products, and maybe one day those that don’t know it, will realize it.
This is not anywhere correct at this moment. I can see it when MS releases the touted hypervisor’ commint in Windows 2008 ‘longhorn’ because it will be based on existing hypervisors on Unix. Most notable Xen. ESX is a great platform but does not support the Intel VT or AMD virtualization extensions as of today. Xen Enterprise does, and its performance is about the same or better then ESX and its binary emulation. I forsee Xen Enterprise and Xen products becomming the standard especially when it is going to be having MS running the same paravirtualization type architecture as Xen does. Ms will make sure this technology leapfrogs ESX longterm. Teh current features of EXS are compelling, but longterm unless the innovate it will DIE. The market is going the same was as the Interent Browser battle did years ago.
Check out the ESX vs Xen Enterprise white paper.
While I see all the comments about TCO and ROI and consolidation ratios etc etc. Also all the extra features VMotion DRS etc along with wait for the new MS products based on XEN then we will see MS leapfrog and this may happen due to the sheer buying and spend of MS. Comments on backups where very realistic as even MS reccomend image backup for quick recovery. So where does this leav us, well the VT hype as MS plays it is a poor hype at present as the current VT delivery from both Intel and AMD was not very succesful as anyone who raeds will know. So lets hold out on the VT until netsed page table are released at years end along with the New MS next year and the new ESX. MS FREE? US court ruled what they offer on the virtualiztion platforms has to be offered to all. So by one DC license and run as many on a single host applies not only for VS but XEN, EXS and Virtual Iron to name a few. So rule that cost saving out, thats just good wording on MS’s part
Funny thing about VT support in ESX. 64 bit guests won’t even run on ESX unless the host is running a VT processor. Sounds like there is at least some support there. But Lawrie is right, the Intel and AMD VT offerings are quite there yet. Let’s hope that next gen VT will have more features.
M$ has a long way to go before they can even come close to ESX. VMotion alone eliminates either free server implementation in most shops, let alone HA, DRS, and CB. Longhorn will hopefully provide a better performance platform without the GUI overhead, but until they implement a VMotion equivalent and start building features on top of it, then they are not even in the same ball game.
ashish gupta |
In this democracy of ideas and likings let me put my two cents.
I see this going the Novell windowsNT way. NDS was superior but Windows NT was easier and cheaper. Above all finding people to work on NT was easy, Is it the same for Vmware?
Business will favour easier , cheaper, and something Tom, Bob & Harry can accomplish. As a manager my cost of finding,hiring,training or replacing a microsoft guy is far less then a linux guy.
secondly , With Quad cores in the market I seriously do not think that I would want a big peice of Iron to support 50 to 60 of my servers. It is just to many eggs in one basket.
Out there you might need to do that but organization and datacenters with 500 to 1000 servers & lower can affort a lower
consolidation ratio with an eye on DR & related costs
The cost of true up licensing (refer to MS licensing for Virtual instances) gives a definite edge over vmware, not to mention the huge upfront cost of investing in ESX and all frills to move instances /memory etc.
The Virtual server fits into my architecture for implementing windows 2008. Small core modules of the 2008 OS running with clustering over multiple servers on virtual instances. I do not see Vmware /EMC fit in there.. Storage technology is at the edge of a quantum jump & big daddy EMC will eventually morph Vmware as a core module to provide a product similar to the range of products from NetApps and it’s implementation of SAN /NAS but far more feature rich.
Well, the first thing that I noticed was that they didn’t mention which version of ESX Quigley was using, but since he says that it’s too expensive to upgrade we can assume that it is not 3.0. If he’s running one of the older versions, then it’s safe to assume that some of his complaints are at least realistic, though 3.0 is vastly superior to previous versions.
Secondly, this is not an apples to apples comparison. He’s comparing ESX/VI with Virtual Server, and they’re not even in the same league. MS Virtual Server runs on top of Windows, is free, and hosts multiple servers on top of that one Windows install. VMWare Virtual Server is also free, runs on top of Windows, and hosts multiple servers on top of that one Windows install. That is an apples to apples comparison. But VMWare ESX/VI is a completely different product, it’s not an apple but an entire basket of apples, oranges, bannanas, and grapes. Microsoft has nothing to compete with VI, VMotion, HA, DRS, VCB, etc. And if they did have something to compete with it, you can bet your life that it’s not going to be free. So this isn’t even a valid comparison.
Now, back to this specific case, I don’t know much about this Total Quality Logiistics company, but I bet they’re fairly small. And to be honest, for a lot of smaller shops MS Virtual Server might make more sense because it’s a) less expensive, b) easier to configure and manage, and c) based on ubiquitous Windows technology instead of Linux, which makes it easier/cheaper to find people to support it. If you’re a small company that doesn’t need or have the resources for a full blown ESX/VI deployment, then MS Virtual Server does make sense. It offers some of the benefits of virtualization for a lower cost and easier implementation. But as been pointed out repeatedly, ESX and MS Virtual Server aren’t even the same class of product. One of them is Enterprise grade and the other isn’t even close.
Why are we comparing apples to oranges?
My 2 cents…
The free VS2005 sounds like another stunt from MSFT to make people “use to” about their application and then inset “$$$” for every extra feature. Remember, nobody runs a charity shopt here.
When was Microsoft Virtual Machine software ever free?
I think a greater evaluation should be done in tests using various load simulation softwares to test the capability of your services intended to be hosted on a VM irrespective of the vendor.
John Stacey |
I think by comparing MS virtual server to ESX/VI3 Microsoft are making a mistake and this little snippet would ahve been best where it belongs, in the bin. Anyone who’s used both (and I do) knows full well that there is no real comparision. Live migration of VM’s across the cluster, DRS, H/A etc. mean VI3 is in many ways superior to physical machine and the ideal place for your critical systems. Coupled with flawless zero input p2v and running on current non virtual technolgy specific hardware it is without equal.
Configuration is not that tricky really and hey, this is what I get paid to do!
VMware server and MS virtual server are comparable and for Windows on Windows (in my opinion) the MS solution is the best. OK you can’t overcommit memory like th VMware but my testing has shown the MS product to be at least as fast and faster in most situations. Added to that of course it is fully supported by MS, always a slight concern with any Windows product on any non MS virtual platform.
VMware on Linux is maybe better performance wise and can be a 100% free host (Ubuntu Linux server and VMware server) but unless you have some hefty Linux skills you could have issues espeically as the farm grows.
The MS SCVMM is very good and does lift a large overhead from the host, what it also does (in it’s current form) is what looks to be a good impression of VI3 virtual centre. But that’s all it is, a good impression at first glace, vm control is superb, vm provisioning is good, the whole thing is a nice place to work etc. But p2v is clunky and some bits are clearly just tacked on, live migration and h/a, real DRS etc. are just not even there.
As a product is it’s own right it is great, but it’s not VI3.
My ESX boxes and the SAN are all sat togeather and are (in my mind) one big unit, that is not true of my MS VM hosts. The MS VM solution is far better than many ESX die hards believe, I run DCs on it, SQL 2005, Sharepoint etc. mostly on servers with huge local storage we’ve already got without issue but it has a long way to go to come near what £10000 spent with VMware will provide.
What a joke. If senior network engineer have config problems with VMware products, he’s not very senior. The only thing that can make me even think about installing Virtual”something” from M$ is the cost issue.
So how do I convert a MS VM into and ESX VM and vise versa to do testing and compare for myself???
Forgive me for stating this. But the Network EXPERT in question just doesnt know what he is talking about.
We have a customer, w\ 3 Vmware ESX servers. 3 dell 2950′s w\ 32GB ram 2xQuad cpu’s. On a Iscsi SAN. I kid you not, on 3 servers, we host 40 + servers, win2k3, 4gb ram. 1 physical Exchange, 1 physical SQL, with their cluster partner virtualized. this environment supports over 1000 CITRIX users. File-print. App servers., etc.. you name it, it does. There is noooo Way virtual server can do this.
The servers all run at sub 50% utilization. Ram, – We have the capability to flat out unplug 1 dell 2950, and the other 2 will 1. automatically fail over, 2. each server can run the 20 servers.
To do maintinance we can just vmotion the servers off 1 to the other 2, do maintinance, move them back. 100% up time. There is just no way the MS virtual servers can do this. We tried, win2k3 64, ent server, and ms virtual server. AHH- no. We could get 7 servers running before we ran out of ram. and that was just turning on the servers, no load.
Vmware has its advantages. MS win2k3 is a stable product. BUT it isnt ROCK SOLID now. I was very LEary about the Vmware until i started really jumping into it. NOW there is no way i would trust a MS product to preform this.
Maybe next GEN for microsoft, but as of 10-18-2007 Microsoft has a LONGGG WAY TO GO. AND he is a amateur if he just stated licensing as the cost. Whatever. Even if you save 10,000 in licensing. per server. Vmware ESX ENTERPRISE is 5,000. ACtually vmware has bundles for 15k, which includes 3esx licenses, + Virtual center server w\ all the bells and whistles.
and oh yah. Soft dollars will be the one that he will be paying. Just security updates alone, make a win2k3 server not a good choice for virtualization.
ESX offers the ability to tailor every single cpu mhz/% wise.
the Baloon driver for memmory.- Moving HOT vm’s within seconds, (very serious). saving a few bucks is 1 thing, but sacrificing usability is suicide. In datacenters around the world,, IE REAL datacenters, with 1000+ servers. Vmware can offer you a ROI well within 6 months.. 20:1 consilidation ratio is very avaliable.
With a HP dl- QuadxQuad core, w\64 GB of ram, now my friends, taht server can easily support over 40 servers. From full HEAVY IO servers, to your basic web, DC, gen purpose servers. Not shooting MS in the head with these comments, but i am a consultant, that proposes the BEST solution, not the cheapest. Cheapest is cool and all, BUT quality matters. Servers that everyone of us deploy, are to be running for 4-5+ years. Trust me, that cost is easily recooped
I don’t agree with the original statements of this posting. If ESX is implemented correctly it is rock solid. Also what did the WMWare tech support have to say about these ESX issue? As to some of the comments of VS2005, I have run over a dozen virtual workstations on one system and 6-8 application \ IIS systems on one virtual box with WLBS and no issue. VS2005 is a good solution if budget is an issue, but if budget is wide open ESX is the way to go. You can’t beat VMotion, and performance if configured correctly.
I have been sufered for years all the M$ crap. As many of us, I’ve worked with many vendors in the last 15 years, most of the times I’m the first one criticizing the bad M$ things. At this time I can conclude that Microsoft deserves the critics, but mostly because of the non-ethtical commercial practices, more than the all-well-known-crappy-and non-documented features and quality problems. But regarding this VS (Virtual Server) issue, I agree with others: We should not compare them. They are not apples vs. apples. I have experience working with MS VS 2005 R2sp1, not the others, and I can say for sure, that VS has a very little set of features compared with others, but I must admit that is very stable, and production grade; of course not for companies with lots of VMs, but mostly because of the lack of management tools, not because performance issues. I think that people with good experience and understanding of servers should not have any problems regarding stability or performance. I have 30 servers, and we are migrating to VS. VS is by far paying for itself in other benefits, non-performance, non-money-related issues, like making easy backups, portability, saving in energy and space; because we are removing few old servers on a single one. And, of course, in our case we don’t want to spend the big bucks in VMware, every scenarios has it’s own issues, this is just our case, my two cents.
I have one issue related to ESX server3.5 installation on Vmware 6.0.
When i try to install Esx Server 3.5 on vmware 6.0 at the time of installation when sata hard disk drivers installed and setup says “Installing ESX Server 3.5 ….” after that setup abnormally terminated.
I tell you steps how i can configure Vmware for this-?
Vmware Workstation 4/5.0 -> Redhat Guest OS -> !256 Memory -> 10 Gb hard disk LSI LOGIC -> Number of processors 2 ->esx text
Any parameter change for this installation?
I think some changes req in vmx file .
Please any one know how to install this please mail me steps.
Thanks in advance,
DITTO: “I never had any configuration issues, or utilization/performance issues.”
Fire that admin and hire someone who knows that they are talking about. I’m an MCSE with a big ESX farm, I am not even considering VS2005. Are you kidding me? The product is no where close to what ESX has accomplished, it has a long way to go. It was a waste of time even testing it.
Arild Skullerud |
This article is totally FUD.
I’ve been running ESX since 2.0 in a large production environment, and I have never seen the issues described here.
Sure ESX is not error free, but VMWare is actually quite fast to provide fixes if you have an error you can reproduce.
I fail to see the cost math here. Sure ESX was expensive when we only had single core CPUs. The price stayed the same with dual core, and with quad core, practically quadrupling your performance per dollar, and making a 1U 2CPU server, 8 core, 50 VMs quite easy to run. You’ll need a 1-day training course to achieve it
I also happen to have extensive experience with the old VMWare GSX series, and I would say Microsoft is on that level still.
ESX is the only REAL production virtualization platform as of today. All others should be viewed as test only until they become more mature (and certainly more feature rich).
We have a fairly large setup for ESX, and I have NEVER had these kind of problems. As for pricing, as one said, compare the amount of servers installed per box. We run HP DL580′s, with Quad Core processors, and give or take 100-120 gigs of RAM, on iSCSI SAN’s. Each ESX supports from 15 to 30 servers; we have 18 currently.
We looked as MS-VS (Microsoft Virtual Server), and the sluggish management, and low overhead for multiple servers just didn’t make it feesable. The new Hyper-V on 2008 server might be worth a shot, but that’s iffy…assuming it’s available on 2008 Server Core only, then it might compare). The only thing that ESX can’t do well that MS-VS /might/ be able to pull off, is a TS server. I have yet to see a good MSTS server that’s been virtualized.
Until then, I’ll stick with my HA/VMotion/ESX Clustering!
Typical msft propaganda. Any data center engineer worth their salt already knows that ESX is the standard hypervisor for production but wait, MS Virtual Server is not even a hypervisor so how does this comparison even make sense Jan? There will always be those willing to step over a dollar to pick up a penny.
I worked at TQL when John was there. He was terminated for incompetence. Don’t let his opinions influence your opinions regarding VMWare. If you have any doubts, just check out his personal website at http://www.johnnyq.com. This guy is a moron.